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The Star

Thursday November 30 2017

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Helping settle ‘complex’ quake insurance claims AS A new minister, one of the biggest priorities for me has been getting faster resolution for people still dealing with EQC and insurance issues, nearly seven years after the earthquakes. For many of the people still in this position here in Christchurch, part of the problem is that they have complex or difficult claims. For those stuck in this situation, it feels like they are trapped in limbo. My priority is making sure these people can move on with their lives. Part of that is making sure the right support is available to help them navigate what can be very overwhelming and complex issues. This is where the Residential Advisory Service has been an absolute godsend for people over the last few years. The service helps people navigate their claims and gives people support and a bit of case management to get people through. Since the earthquake, more than 4500 people have had their claims resolved by the RAS. Yet under the previous Government, this service had been due to close in December due to a lack of funding.

That’s not something our new Government wants to see. We know how important this service is, and we know that we can’t walk away from people while they are still struggling. When I was in Kaikoura recently for the one-year anniversary, I met with people who were using the service. I heard how much of an important lifeline it was. One woman told me she had been at the absolute end of her rope until she started working with RAS. She talked about how staff there went above and beyond to help her. That’s the approach our Government wants to see continue. That’s why we’ve announced we will be extending the RAS service until at least the middle of next year. With new funding, the service will be able to continue to help the people who need it and ensure people are getting access to justice and a way to get their claims sorted and get on with their lives. •Megan Woods is the Minister of Greater Christchurch Regeneration

Seventy years on from the Ballantynes fire, survivors Lois Wheeler and Marion Hooykaas had an uncanny reunion Donna Dawber – Lois Wheeler was my mum’s friend in Richmond RIP Vera Gibson. Angel At Large – My mum was in the Ballantynes fire. She was 19. She saw so many of her friends burn to death. They locked the fire escapes and wouldn’t let the girls in accounting leave their posts. So many unnecessary deaths. Her sister worked in Beaths across the road and watched too. Richard Carrigan – Great read. Mr and Mrs Wheeler were friends of mum and dad growing up. Major bit of Christchurch history as well. Jan Greig – I have the newspaper of that terrible day.

SURVIVORS: Lois Wheeler, 92, and Marion Hooykaas, 87, both escaped the Ballantynes fire on November 18, 1947, although they did not meet until years later. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

Helen Cox – Such a terrible tragedy but how lovely these ladies have met.

was probably their senior back in those days.

Diane Rangi – I was threeyears-old when it happened. We lived in Spreydon. I can remember it still.

Judy Bagnall – My mum worked upstairs in Beaths across the road and witnessed the fire. They were evacuated too. Think windows at Beaths were breaking with the heat.

Robyn Rodgers – I believe my aunty was working as a seamstress in Ballantynes, she

•Mayor’s column and more readers’ views, page 16

Christchurch Online 53 Jaguar XK120 Drop Head

67 Holden Premier HR 186

Classic Car Auction

Concludes Friday December 1st From 7.00pm

69 Sunbeam Imp restored

02 Nissan 200SX Spec R, manual turbo

Great variety of Classics located at Turners Cars Christchurch. 71 Mercedes 280SE Restored

84 Chev Silverado D/Cab Pick Up

81 Toyota Crown extremely original

1 Detroit Place, Addington Phone Ian on 021 339-512 Total of approximately 20 classics included in this auction. For a full line-up of classics with details & photos together with bidding facility see:

69 Holden Kingswood 86 auto

74 Mercedes 280E twin cam NZ new

01 Holden Commodore SS V8 Ute

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